Visiting Cook Islands in May, Cook Island tattoos
Replies: 7 - Last Post: May 26, 2012 8:57 PM Last Post By: djfishboy70
Apr 16, 2012 7:44 PM
Visiting Cook Islands in May, Cook Island tattoosHi,
My family is going to the Cook Islands next month to celebrate my brother-in-law and his fiance getting married.
Although it is costing a bomb to get 4 of us from Melbourne for the week - about $4000 - we are really looking fwd to seeing this beautiful part of the world.
We plan to so some snorkeling when we are there but what other activities can anyone recommend we check out.
We really want to see the kind of stuff that you can only find in this beautiful part of the world.
I have heard that going to a local church service is a great experience and there is a rainforest that is worth checking out.
How far away is Aitutaki by boat?
Any info would be great.
We do have to do a lot of wedding related family get-togethers - minor yawn - but we really want to experience Raro and the surrounding islands if possible too.
Also, if anyone can recommend a good tattooist on Raro where we can get some traditional islander style of tattoos done, we would be very grateful.
Thanks in advance
Apr 17, 2012 9:16 PM
Im an Aussie living here on Raro. Heaps to do here....lotsa "clubbing" and there are clubbing busses that will take you to each key bar on the island then home in the wee hours. (this is not the same as the 2 buses that round round the island...the clockwise bus and the counterclockwise bus) Its only 31.5km all way round the island. I personally think waiting for a bus is a pain and Id opt for car hire (about $NZD40/day or motorbike hire (about $18/day) Try the place over the road from the airport called Rarotonga rentals. There are a few cabs but they are expensive and dont rely on finding one...even at the airport when you arrive.
You can also do several really cool hikes (the cross island walk is good, as is the Raemaru walk...albeit a bit overgrown at the moment.) I had dinner with the head of Tourism on Sunday and she said that the Raemaru track will be improved as soon as the budget money starts to flow. The cross island walk isnt hard to find and is well signposted...but you need someone to pick you up at the other end or drop a car/bike there before you set off.Not sure if the Raemaru track will be addressed before May but its not so over grown that you can find it. And the views are fab from the top. Walks/hikes are marked on the DL sized island map that you pick up free all over the place.You can also do deep sea fishing (go with Seafari is my recommendation) and quad biking (pretty cool) and if you'd like a bit of excitement but dont want to exert too much energy, there are back of the 4WD tours which will take you into the mountains. You can sail from the sailing club at Muri and hire kayaks in lots of places round the island. If you are really game, you can surf or body surf the reef breaks. You can also do what is called the jetblast as the raro int'l airport is one of the few in the world where you can get that close to the planes. Its sort of fun to be under the big Air NZ or Virgin jets when they land, but the real buzz is to get behind the plane as it is revving engines to take off....the trick tho is guessing which end the plane will taxi to for the revving before takeoff. You can also have massages and go horse rising if that takes your fancy. Heaps of pretty good places to eat and drink....Best picks are Tamarind House (for lunch or dinner), Vaima (for dinner...book a table on the sand) and Trader Jacks in town on the water is fab just about anytime, and they do good pizza. Best coffee is at the Beachcomber cafe, opposite the sign to the library in town. Coffee and food pretty good too at the Waffle Shack (a caravan near the port) Its important to know that you cant buy booze here on a Sunday (except in a restaurant or bar) but if you are self-catering, dont get caught short.
You cant go by boat to Aitutaki.....well - you;d have to wait til one showed up and it may then take weeks to get there. Its over 250km btw here and there. You need to fly and Air Rarotonga is pretty pricey. It has a monopoly so you dont have too much of an alternative. Having said that, it is LOVELY and a daytrip with the lagoon cruise is pretty wonderful. It is though gonna punch a hole in your wallet. There are other islands to go see....but all tend to be pricey as you need to fly to all of then
Best snorkelling is off a shop called Fruits of Rarotonga (its on that map you'll find free everywhere) also on either side of the Rarotongan resort. And around Blackrock.
There are quite a few places that do tats here and they are really tasteful. Id see if you see one you like and ask the person if they got it here, and if so, which place.
Feel free to ask more specific queries if you have them.
Apr 17, 2012 9:18 PM
2PS - the church services are nice but LONG. Best one I think (where you can go upstairs and thus not get so noticed if you want to sneak out) is the big one just by the sign to the library and museum. Find Beachcomber cafe and its the church opposite there. Friends of mine did it last weekend and loved it!
Apr 18, 2012 9:18 PM
3You mentioned rainforest, dj. Takitumu Conservation Area is located in Titikaveka on the south side of the island. This is the habitat for one of the Cook Islands endangered, indigenous bird species called the Rarotonga Flycatcher/Kakerori. You need to prebook and can do so easily once you reach Raro.
The Muri lagoon cruises are fun for first timers. 3 tours available and the cruises head for the Tikioki marine reserve followed by a stop for lunch on Koromiri motu.
One of the island nights may interest you. Te Vara Nui cultural village in Muri and highland Paradise on Raemaru provide a more indepth cultural experience, whereas the resorts and the 2 nitespots in town focus more on entertainment value. All are of good value depending on how much you want to spend fpr a night out.
Aitutaki is best reached by air for a short visit. The day-trip and lagoon cruise is as popular as ever. Costs approx $459 per passenger, but if you can economise on other sights and attrctions this is well worthwhile considering. The Aitutaki lagoon is truly O for awesome.
Tats? Try some of the stalls located at Punanga Nui market to see who's in town. A browse around the Saturday morning market is another not to be missed authentic cultural experience. Lots of locals turn out for this form of social interaction. Tuck into a platter of cooked local foods there!
If you are into sports, get along to one of the sports park to watch a Saturday game local-style. Kayaks can be hired from Muri, or your accommodation provider may supply them. Otherwise Cook Islands Adventures based in Kavera hire these out.
Don't miss out having a cold one at the fishing club. Local fishos meet there, happy hour prices are unbelievable. Best fish n chips on Raro served at the Flying Boat takeaway located on the fishing club's site.
Get around to the western side of the island for splendid sunset displays. The colours of the tropics are vivid in this part of the world.
Apr 19, 2012 9:12 PM
May 4, 2012 9:28 AM
May 26, 2012 5:04 PM
Love the in depth update and will action a lot of this as per your suggestion.
I am coming to Rara and Atitutaki this Friday for 2 weeks.
What is the weather temperature and it is now winter in Brisbane Australia. Not sure how cold it will get or is it more spring weather.
Look forward to keeping in touch and maybe a beer at a local establishment. Please let me know as hoping to pack tomorrow
May 26, 2012 8:57 PM
The weather at the moment is pretty good. It is mid twenties almost everyday - still warm enough to go snorkeling and do all the water sports on offer - but it does rain a lot! Like nearly everyday! lol.
Sometimes it will look a bit cloudy and then whammo! - it buckets down for twenty mins and then it clears up just as suddenly.
It actually felt a bit like Melbourne weather! hahahah
So definitely take a light rain jacket if you can fit it in your case / pack.
The flight over isn't too bad, although for us it was pretty long - 3hrs 15 from Melb to AKL and then close to 4 hours to Rarotonga - but coming back, as most of the flights leave about 1.45am, you will probably get home in the early hours of the morning which may take a couple of days to get over.
Also, in Aussie terms, Raro will seem really expensive - even though they use NZD. Fuel for example was $2.61 a litre, a loaf of bread will cost you about $5, Milk - if there is any fresh stuff available ( they had been a week without it when we were there) can be costly but you can get the long-life stuff for about $2.60 a litre from the supermarket.
The big supermarkets in Avarua are ok for essentials, but best avoid them if you want fruit and veges. A lot of people sell their fruit - bananas, paw paw, tomatoes, etc - at roadside stalls and the Sat morning market in Avarua has some great deals on fruit and veges.
The locally grown bananas and passionfruit are delicious.
We found Wigmore's supermarket - on the south side of the island - pretty good (in Raro terms) for prices and it is worth going to for the ice creams they serve alone!
Get a single scoop of ice cream for $2 or a double for $3 . We only ever got singles as they were massive! lol
Another tip for cheap eats is little cafe / restaurant on the main road in Muri Beach. They have a sign hanging out the front advertising the upcoming games of Rugby they will showing soon but the sign we were were most interested in was the one that said they were serving $5 burgers between 6 and 8pm and they were pretty damn good.
Another fun idea is Wednesday night at the Coco-putt on the south coast. For $15 you get a game of mini-golf, a beer and a burger and a chance to meet the locals and some of the other travelers on the island. http://www.cocoputt.co.ck/
I didn't expect much but it turned out to be one of the best things we did on our trip.
If you use the ATMs over there, be prepared to be slugged.
It will cost you $6.50 every time you use one so best to get large amounts out or take a lot of cash with you.
An option that we went for was the Cash Passport. A prepaid currently card. We put a bunch of money into this prepaid Mastercard in Oz, in the currency of the Cook Islands - NZD - and save on exchange fees. The card is only about $15 and their shops are often located next to Flight Centre in your local shopping mall.
Enjoy your trip. the place is really beautiful in its own special way and the locals are lovely and easy going people, Even the huge number of dogs you will find roaming everywhere are pretty laid-back ( and then there are the chickens that roam around as if they own the place! ) lol
Finally the waterfall is nice but make sure you take some aeroguard.
We had an armada of mossies joining us for the trip back down to the main road and those critters were crazy big! lol
All the best.
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